tv Today in Washington CSPAN May 22, 2013 7:30am-9:01am EDT
with crossroads gps, a group in him, mr. rove, i helped found providing over half. i don't mean to single him out as the only bad active because there are many representatives in the entire local spectrum but this is the nature of the beast it is a reason that you seek a 501(c)(4) status because you can hide, as your donors, and you also have a tax advantage otherwise you don't need to seek the 501(c)(4) advantage. so the reason that people -- i would like to see what does it cost the american taxpayers in the granting of all of these 501(c)(4) is when they're not being used for social welfare but they're being used in essence the political advocacy. final question to the ig. inspector general, did chairman i sent a letter on august 3 of 2012 to all of the inspector general's. reminded of the under the inspector general's that requires i just report particularly likely problems to congress to the agency had within seven days, what has
become known as a seven-day olympic did you receive that letter and if so did you respond to inform chairman issa of your investigation to the irs? >> senator, we did receive a letter, and chairman issa's committee was the first to actually contact us regarding this matter. and so through the course of engaging in the review, on occasion we have had communications with his staff spent in 20 to? >> and since then, yes. >> thank you. senator cardin? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think we all will agree that we cannot allow, permit, tolerate targeting by political views, and that we need to make sure that the process is clear, to hold those accountable who violated that but also to make sure this doesn't happen again.
having said that i just want to concur with many of my colleagues on the interpretation of the law. the regulation, mr. george, but you are relying on was issued in 1950, if i'm correct in the year. i know it was issued a long time ago. were you said not their primary activity interpreting what is exclusively engaged in promotion of the self are -- welfare social activities which seems to be hard to understand. 1958, the political parameters were totally different than they are today. i understand whose responsibility it is to change regulation, but it seems to me that this is an area that needs to be dealt with. i want to get further clarification on page eight of f the report were you have a pie chart, a list of 298 cases that were pulled out for additional scrutiny. you identified 72 with the named key part in it, if i'm reading the chart correctly.
11 with 912, and 13 with patriots. than 200 t 202 others. can you give us further clarification what makes up those 200 to? >> senator, we were not in a position to do so because in many instances we would only become we're only reviewing the name of the organizations. and some certain names were so generic that we were unable to determine whether or not they had a particular poin point of w or what have you, or whether they are not the irs was using the policy positions that those groups held as a determinant for the special handling. but in other instances when the name tea party was used it was quite obvious, or the main page it was use or if -- >> what was the standard for the selection of those 200 to? were you able to determine that?
>> all of the 202 were whether or not significant campaign intervention was engaging. >> if i understand correctly the 90 some were because of the name of the organization? >> correct. >> the other 202, why were they selected? >> according to our review it was to determine whether significant campaign intervention had occurred i those organizations. >> but what basis was used to single out those 200 to? >> i'm going to do for athletes who mr. miller. >> mr. miller, do you know what basis was used to? >> i don't. what i believe, senator, is what's in the report which is as long as the term tea party was use more cases were being pulled in where folks saw evidence of political activity, they put those cases in. those would include any case that came across their screening desk. >> but you don't know what standard they used to make a judgment that they were
involved? could it have been the name? i'm trying to figure out how these were selected. there has to be some rational or at least some stated reason, unless it's a random selection. isn't a random selection? >> no, sir. no, sir. i believe there was evidence of political activity that the screener believed was there and, therefore, it was put in -- i will say this, it is my hope that when you all do your review that some of these things will become more clear than they are in the report. >> i appreciate that. i would be very interested as to how the irs went about selecting all of the groups for review, and addition to the ones that were selected because of the use of the word tea party for 912 our patriot, which is absolutely wrong. >> if i may, that is part of the problem, in many instances there was no indication at all in the case file why these particular
cases were selected. and that was something that we identified as a problem in the way the irs handled these matters. >> mr. knoller, you don't know the standards that were used? >> i know what has been in the report, and i believe what was in the report was indicated that the screeners were looking for evidence of political activity. >> i think we need of more information as to how these were selected to if it was an arbiter selection of 90 some, it could well be there was an arbitrates election of 300 think we need to know how that was determined. one last question and that deals with your $20. one of the inspector general's of findings was that the staff was not adequately trained in order to meet the challenges. this isn't obligated area that in folsom tough judgment by the has to be done in some uniform way. can you just share with us whether you have adequate resources in order to pursue the training at the irs? senator portman and i a few years back worked on irs reform,
and i think both of us hoped that we would never be adhering like this after the forms that were passed back them. one of our objectives was to make sure that it was, the irs would handle -- he had the resources you need to properly trained staff? >> so, first i will say we did not train here well enough. there's a question about the i think that's a finding of the ig report and we believe that is the case as well. more generally, we are down a billion dollars over the last couple of years, the irs is, and that has caused us to cut train fairly drastically. we have in this area, we have maybe 140 of our folks that do this sort of work, both in cincinnati and reporting to cincinnati through some other offices which has been some confusion of the. but with 70,000 applications that come through. do we have the resources to get the job done? i don't believe that we do at this point. >> thank you very much. senator brown, next.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. i think you to the witnesses, and i agree with everyone here that's made the statement with some tone of anger in many cases that irs should never go after anyone, should never single out anyone because their political philosophy or political affiliation period. that's the most important thing. it is, however, i believe not worthy of public trust to maintain the current troubles or the result of the entire, the entire fault of freelancing low-level employees or their asleep of this which manages but it is pretty clear comes from leadership, vacuum that is consistent for far too long in this particular a of tax law. the failure of the irs for five decades to define what constitutes political activity, you know the statute but it's clear that 501(c)(4)s ability
organizations operating quote exclusively for the promotion of social welfare. back in 1959, and since come we've not seen change to that, that's a great area that exist today, was created by the treasury when defining and our decision to operating exclusively as an organization primarily engaged in promoting social welfare. so explain that to me. i know you've talked about that in this hearing already, but what does the term primarily for social welcoming? he irs has not made it clear in this duchesses exclusively and naturally at the root of so many of these problems, mr. miller spent so i think, senator, you've mentioned this. we talked about this. we've had 50 years of his regulars in place, organizations operating within this framework. it is only recently with the flow of political dollars that has been called into question about whether this is the appropriate way to regulate these organizations.
we have not, we have not made a good job i think of putting out guidance on even how to figure out what primarily means. yes, you look at the activities of the organization. yes, you look at the dollars of the organizations, but we have not been chris on that either and that's what our folks are faced with asthma. >> the issue is how long do we wait? much of that is your predecessors, but we found three years since citizens united. we've had two federal elections, tens of tons of dollars state after state after state being spent by 501(c)(4)s. how long do we wait, not one in a washington -- cincinnati, but a and. how long do we wait? >> that's a question you have to ask my successor? >> mr. shulman, what steps were taken to define the tests for finding -- with that line where steps taken to establish a
clearer definition of political activity? >> i think the inspector general stated this, that the treasury, secretary for tax policy has authority to make tax policy. i should don't think it's fair to blame the irs for not fixing that. i think the irs can give input but this is actually something that if congress decides he should be change, congress should either clarify or should be done in regulation. >> all right, thank you. >> senator thune. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i think it's clear that both, there are liberal groups and conservative groups of both follow the law, follow the regular should as it exists today. but there's only one group that was targeted, and you all can give you and say that there wasn't political targeting but it just doesn't comport with the facts. maybe it wasn't you, but somebody was.
and i think one of the purpose of the thing is to find out who was targeting conservative groups. otherwise you can't explain the fact that you at all this conservative weather was hatred or tea party or not within the name selected for extra scrutiny. you had no evidence that there were groups with progressive or names like that that were simply targeted i think it's a this issue to rest the political targeting i don't think there's anyway to deny that. i'm interested in knowing, mr. miller and mr. shulman, if either of you were aware that ms. lerner was going to plant that question try to get ahead of the news cycle by disclosing this pirated release of the i.t. report? >> i think i mentioned that i did, yes spent okay. and whether any discussions the reporting is the white house was aware, the white house counsel's office was where on april 24 of this information. whether any discussions with the white house about ms. lerner's intention to drop this bomb at the aba conference?
>> [inaudible] spent are you aware of anybody else that gets? >> i am not aware of that. >> there's also been reporting that deputy secretary neal wolin and treasure general counsel were made aware of the ig report, looking into the targeting of groups last june. did you have any discussions with treasury around that time? >> is that question to me speak with you are mr. shulman. you would probably be -- >> i was deputy at that point but no, i didn't have any conversations at the time. >> mr. shulman? >> i don't remember having any conversations with the treasury department. >> okay, so there were no discussion. are you everybody who had discussion with the treasury department? the treasury department became aware of this information way back last june. none of that was, there were no discussions between the irs and the treasury as you are aware of? >> let me clarify. i think everybody knew that it
was very difficult to administer the (c)(4) law. and so i don't have any memory of it, but there very well could have been conversation about policy, the policy matters that members of this committee have talked about, should the primary purpose test be changed. at least coming for me there were no conversations that i had with the treasury department about this, the matters in the report relating to inappropriate criteria, you know, all those things that were in the news. >> and that was the and i was getting, just to be clear. >> now, mr. shulman come you testified in front of the house in march of last year that there was no targeting. you became aware of that in may. don't you think that you should
have an obligation to clarify or to correct that statement? that you made in front of the house committee? >> in the spring when i found out about a list that was being used to help places applicatio applications, what i knew was there was a list, i didn't know that tea party was on. i do know what else was on the list. i had a partial set of faqs and i knew that the inspector general was going to be looking into it, and they knew that it was being stopped. and sitting there then, sitting here today, i think i made the right decision, which is to let the inspector general get to the bottom of it, chase down all the facts, and then make its findings public. >> let me ask, if i could, mr. george. you mentioned earlier that disclosure of confidential information, be a violation of
law? >> it is, but whether it is administrative or criminal is the issue. but yes, it could be a violation of the law, specifically the restructuring reform act of 1990 spent so the reporting about the getting of this information to the public a release of confidential information could very well be a violation of law? >> it could be. it could've been rather i should say. >> and let me just ask all the because there was a statement made over the weekend by somebody from the white house that the law would be irrelevant. do you believe that the law, is irrelevant or is it relevant to this? >> i believe the law is always relevant. >> gentlemen? >> [inaudible]. speak there was a statement made over the weekend whether the laws were broken is irrelevant to i just ask them to believe the law is irrelevant in this case? >> i mean, i guess i would agree with --
[talking over each other] the answer would be yes? mr. guerre i just think, one is the targeting issue and clearly that has to meet a lot of political overtones but the other one is this information that was disclosed, that that would be a violation of law. it's a very serious matter but i think the american people believe that this is a very serious matter for both those reasons. they believe the law have to call and i believe they also believe that to have an irs that competently conducts its business in an objective fair and transparent way. and those are all things that are missing in the equation. and so i hope that we continue to get more facts out about this, and fit corrective action's are taken. thank you, mr. chairman. >> senator burr. >> mr. shulman, who briefed you? >> who briefed me on what? >> who briefed you on the investigation? >> on the investigation?
>> yes, sir. >> the first i heard, to the best of my recollection, of the investigation was mr. miller, telling me that there was the existence of the below list and was something inspector general was going to look into it. >> mr. george, did you brief mr. miller or any other investigative team briefed mr. miller in may of 2012? >> it was may 30, center, 2012, where at a monthly briefly in which we rightly called with both the commission and his chief deputies that we first raised this as an issue. obviously, it was at the outset of the -- >> esther miller says he's not aware of the practice that was going on in the the aisle. did you brief them on the scope of the investigation? >> i don't believe we went into the detail which may have laid out the scope, center, but we certainly alerted him to the fact that we are conducting this audit because i want to make sure i'm clear. i may have misused the word
investigation it was an audit that we are engaging in. >> neal wolin, at my college is buddha, deputy secretary of the treasure was briefed in june of 2012. i've just heard two people at the tables a bit didn't briefing. mr. george, did you brief awarded part of the investigation team briefed the deputy secretary of the treasury? >> i personally, again, they have brought to deputy secretary's one's attention the fact that we are engaging in this audit. and -- >> did that briefing cover the details of the scope of your investigation? >> it did not. it was other than to describe the nature of the audit, and that was the extent of it because there were other matters were discussing. >> mr. george, your investigation states that counsel was briefed in august 111 of the practice at the country. was that the irs council or was it the treasury general counsel?
>> actually, sir, it was in june, june 42012. again, in terms of a regular setting that i have with a meeting i should say that i had with the general counsel of the department of the treasury. i know you're talking about your briefing. i'm talking about a reference in your report that the council was briefed by somebody. i take for granted it was somebody within the eo. this was an exchange on the practice that was going on, that the council at the irs was knowledgeable in 2011, am i correct? >> sir, it was just pointed out to me that attorneys within the office of chief counsel within the irs were briefed on -- >> so the chief counsel of the irs understood what the practice was that was going on within the eo of these applications, correct? >> i was not at that briefing, sir, but i don't know the extent to which they receive
information. >> well here again, before your investigation started by your investigation -- your investigation concluded that the general counsel of the irs new of the practices they been discussed within the attorneys of the transcendent? >> is the office of chief counsel, and that they were made, they were provided a briefing. >> is it normal for the chief counsel's office of an agency not have any conversations with the commissioner or the deputy? >> i have no idea of the practices. >> let me just turn to both of you. mr. miller, you said, are you testified that the irs council never talk to you about this? >> i'm not, sir. i haven't been asked that question. i don't, it would've step back for a moment, sir. and i think i'm at a don't know this for a fact, but i think that the timeline that you're referring to when it talks to chief counsel is talk about the office of chief counsel, not necessary to achiev chief counsd the could've been anyone in that
chain. >> so you've got attorneys that are involved in the discussion about the practice that the eo is conducting on how they process applications, (c)(4) application, and that not even something that was raised to the level of commissioner? >> let me start by saying i did know that until i read the report, and i don't anything about that meeting. that's something you guys should take a look at. >> mr. shulman, are you testified today that the council never discussed this matter with you? >> i think, if you're asking the question did anyone from the chief counsel's office come and tell me about meetings they were having with the exempt organization function, i have no memory anyone was doing the. >> try to let me suggest we need to get the chief counsel, william wilkins in to testify, see if the council office signed off on this project. i think that's crucial. mr. miller, let me ask you, as this practice stopped speak with what practice?
>> the practice of how they process the consideration of these applications. keywords, conservative, tea party, patriot. >> i believe that that did happen. the names of stopped when last, when lois lerner first learned of it. the second listing by the way, if you take a look at that and the treasury inspector general's report, is still problematic because it talks about policy position. but it actually is not particularly partisan and now it talked about policy position. >> so it was partisan before the? >> yes it absently was spilling point out for the record that the target for approval within the irs of these application is 120 days. there are currently some applications that are over 1200 days. without action. so let me ask you, has this practice stopped?
and if it has, what's the date that it stopped? if it stopped it seems like these applications would've been processed by now. >> so let's break this up a little bit advocacy i can answer your question. the process i was talking about was the selection process that's been modified. we've also worked on getting people and technical knowledge they need to work these cases. some of these cases are difficult cases. they should not have taken as long as they have but they still need some development, and those cases are being worked. >> is there any application that you don't think will be processed in 1200 a? >> i would hope that they could but there are cases that going to there are cases that go into a few. are cases that go to court. there are all sorts of cases. these are difficult cases. there's no doubt some of the 1200 was when the relinquishing before may of 2012. there's no doubt about that. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you sender. >> thank you, mr. chairman. last night i did a monthly
telephone town hall meeting which i do every month. back in my state. during the course of an hour that up to 25 people on the culprit in the course of the hour i handled 21 questions and always make notes when i'm answering the phones. so the next acuvue things i do know the answer to or whatever. my 10th call last that was from a person, and the stables are simple, given what has happened, apparently, at the irs, i don't lost confidence in the united states of america. that was a constituent, that was not a reactionary comment but he went on to further say, the agency that collects taxes from these able to target as they did in the qualification for tax-free status was to keep them from using the tax system to target me for other things? so the reason this is an important hearing, the reason it's an important audit and the reason we do need to have an important investigation is if for no other reason to restore
the confidence of the united states of america in the internal revenue service. so i want that understood. and that's my concern, and that came to me from a constituent last night and he said it far better than i could possibly say it. and mr. george, i want to make sure you said, i understand what you said correctly. i believe that ms. lerner was in charge of the approval of the department during 2011, is that correct? >> yes. yes, sir. >> i thought i heard you say that the cincinnati office was ordered to change their criteria by the director, and that following that order to change it, they changed it back. >> that is correct, sir. >> do you know who changed it back? been who initiated the change back? is there anybody or person or trail, or did it just all of a sudden appear to be a criteria that was changed back? >> we have not found any evidence as to the identification of the person who
ordered the reversion of the policy. >> that's my point, and a follow-up on senator burris question and your statement. you didn't audit committee did not give investigation? >> that is correct. >> and audit is developed to find if there's a possibility of wrongdoing or if there isn't, is that not correct? >> among other things. it also looks at the system, systemic problems that may exist within a program. >> to date there's been no internal investigation at irs, is that correct? >> that i am not aware of, sir. deferred to mr. miller. >> we took a look in the march timeframe to take a look at what was happening in the cases. that was when i was reported to me in may that there were issues. this sort of thing would be done by tigta, it was did and worked with tigta on this. >> and let me ask both you and victor shulman the same question. you are now past commissioners of the irs, correct? there's going to be a new commissioner, correct?
let's assume the commission is going to make a phone call before he or she accepts the employment and as for your advice as to what to do. regarding this issue, what would your advice be to the next commission of the irs? mr. miller. >> i would agree with your opening statement, in that we have come and it breaks my heart, because i spent 25 years tried to protect -- right now the perception is that there is an issue, and that new commissioner needs to attack it, he or she needs to take a hard look, make some changes, put in place some safeguards that are very obvious in terms of the transparency, what the process is, how we're going to do things, and regain the belief of the american people that the irs is and remains nonpartisan. >> mr. shulman? >> so, the commission of ngs to,
filing, fees, technology. last it was the fiscal cliff. offshore issues, and i think the challenge for the next commissioner is, you know, frankly what you talked about, that this whole episode is clearly put a blemish on the agency. it's cast a shadow over all of the good work that the men and women do every day. i think what the next commissioner needs to do is try to rebuild the faith that people have been the impartiality and fairness of the agency, without losing sight of, unicode this is a small sliver, an important one, of what the agency does, i'm not have it overwhelmed him so problems emerge elsewhere. >> well, my hope was that the answer would have been that whomever the next commissioner is, he or she, should immediately a request an investigation of the finding of the audit to determine if that
were violations, if there were, who authorized them, and if they were authorized, who actually carried them out. because to me the one thing that we've never gotten to of the bottom of this is what the chairman referred to at the beginning of the hearing, is who was where and when. once we only, only when we did it, only when those answers of that question take place can to begin the process restoring the confidence of the american people in the internal revenue service. thank you, mr. chairman. ..
this is important. i want to say thank you for that. as you know, in 2011, 2012, i began to receive complaints from my constituents in houston, texas, waco and san antonio from organizations through the san antonio tea party and the waco tea party asking me to assist them to acquire why the irs was taking a particularly aggressive posture with regard to the applications for tack exempt status. i share senator hatch's and others comments about the concern about the denial that have occurred over the course of time that any targeting was taking place, we know now that targeting was in fact takes place. mr. miller, you started your testimony by apologizing.
schulman i wonder if you have any apologies who has a public trust. >> i am deeply saddened. i read the report. i'm saddened. >> is that an apology. >> to your constituents, i don't know the detail with them. i don't know what happened to them. i didn't look at particular constituents and taxpayer matters. as a general principle, as the irs commissioner, i didn't touch individual cases, and i certainly didn't touch cases that involved political activity, so if i knew the details of it, i could give you an answer. >> it's not your responsibility? >> i -- . >> it doesn't stop with you? >> i certainly am not personally
responsible for creating a list that had inappropriate criteria on it, and what i know with full facts that are out, is from the inspector general's report, which doesn't say that i'm responsible for that. with that said, this happened on my watch, and i i very much regret that it happened on my watch. >> i adopt think that qualifies as an apology. it qualifies of an expression of regret. i think it's well deserved. beyond just a question about the particular activities here that the inspector general has discovered which we are now becoming acquainted with. i had a question you talk about earlier in the core function of
the irs. when i think about the core funk of the irs, it's to collect the revenue that the federal government needs in order to function. but it seems like over the years that the congress has given the irs additional responsibilities. for example, to police political activity and speech. now to implement obamacare. i believe you mentioned there are some 90,000 employees in the irs. would you share my concerns that the irs has deviated from its core function and should be reformed to focus on the core function, and perhaps not be given the other additional responsibilities until it can get its house in order? >> i guess what i would say, the irs is tasked with the
responsibility of administrating the nation's tax laws. and over the years, the nation's tax laws have been used for more and more things. so i think that's -- i defer to congress to decide what it wants to use the tax code, and whether it wants the irs to do all of the functions in the tax code, but as long as th irs is given that responsibility, i think the obligation of the agency is to do it to the best of its ability. >> mr. chairman, i know my time is almost over, but i would just say i agree with your comments. did you start out with the same -- if we need a call to congress that we asked the irs to do much more than its core function, and now to get involved in things like policing political activity and speech and now implementing obamacare that it's not all that surprising with these kind of problems that have risen in addition to the -- given the
discretion that mid and level and the lack of proper management practice. it's i think a great opportunity for us not only to get to the bottom of what happened here. but address tax reform in a way that returns the irs to the core function and gets them out of policing political speech and other activities. >> thank you. >> thank you, senator. you are next, senator thune. i'm sorry. senator port map, -- portman, you are next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say i also had a town hall meeting last night. we had about 25,000 people at any one time. the questions were coming in from democrats and independents saying the same thing which was outrage. the outrage being expressedded at the very least the irs ought to have an even-handed and a
fair administration of our tax laws given the power of the agency. mr. miller, in response to concerns expressed by grassroots organizations around ohio, as you know, senator hatch and i, joined by eight of our colleagues, sent a letter to the irs on march 14, 2012. you responded to that letter. and i want to tell you why i joined senator hatch on the letter. the tea party of ohio was asked to print out ever posting it ever made on the facebook page. it determined the names ever spoke, at the meeting. i thought that was odd. the ohio liberty township -- in march of 2011 in response to the january application. it included resume of employees, social media post. one asked about any connection with a individual that doesn't
live in that county that is involved in another tea party. they were trying to find out about a individual that had no connection with the tea party. kind of scary. the ohio liberty coalition was hit with similar questions, concerns, the application was delayed by over two years. shelby county liberty group sent me the letter from the irs, it is as mr. george talked about earlier, inappropriate, irrelevant questions, and they are also given three weeks, 21 days to respond. these are individuals who were asked to come up with tons of information in a short period of time. much of which was difficult for them to compile. they contacted me. they wanted to know the names of every person in the organization in the amount of time they spend in particular events. they want to know details contents of speeches, forums,
speakers, panels. that's why we wrote the letter. the letter asked for the irs to give us, quote, assurance that this recent string of inquiry is consistent with the organizations across the political spectrum. the letter was very specific. there was no question what we were asking. the letter specifically asked and what basis does the irs require an applicant to make disclosure beyond the standard information and what objective criteria are used for greater scrutiny. they go to the heart of political alleges that bewere hearing about. let me ask you, mr. miller, did you receive and read that letter on march 14 in. >> i don't know. >> did you receive the letter and read it. >> at some point, yes. >> did you think the allegations described in the letter were alarming? >> i was aware already of the problems occurring in those
letters and i was in agreement they seemed -- . >> you aware before the march 14 letter it was occurring? >> the same time frame. >> didn't realize that. you knew before them. you testified on or about march 23rd. >> i'm sorry. >> in the newspaper. >> you testified on about march 23 nine days after seventying our letter you asked nancy to quote lead team and take look what was going on based on the allegations. >> i did. >> and a you reported that she reported back with a revelation that political criteria was used to target them. you said the 2012 briefing included much of what is jot lined in the ig report by mr. george. it for six weeks from march 23rd, when you sent your team top find out what was going on to may 3rd. do you didn't bother to ask for
any interim reports or updates from the team you tasked? >>s or in. i -- no, sir. >> you sent a team off and never heard from them? >> i don't recollect i did it one way or another, sir. the implication is that this was a pretty short time frame, sir. >> six weeks. you're finding out about the serious allegations. you are sending a team out. for six weeks you never hear back. you never had the curious curiosity. >> the allegation we handed. we looked at the letter, it seemed overbroad to us. we gave people more time. we pulled the donor list. >> you hadn't acted yet. this was still going on during the period. i'm talking between march 23rd. and may 3. rd. >> there are two pieces here. the letters we acted on immediately. we tried to give people more time. i think to your folks that's going to be what they're going to say. >> if you didn't bother to hear
back from them for six weeks, you responded to our letter on april 26th, and you did not bother to ask them if anything was wrong before you choose to respond to our allegations? in other words on may 26 with a-- assurances that nothing was wrong to us. you didn't wait to hear back from the team investigating them. you choose to respond without the information? >> no. i responded to the questions asked. they were about the donor list. they were responded to correctly and truthfully. >> this is the letter i talked about earlier we asked whether there was political targeting. it was clear what we were asking about. you said you were going investigate. it the team takes six weeks. you respond to us on april 26 which was a week before you apparently heard back from them. you didn't bother to get the report from them before you responded to us. is that accurate. >> i don't know whether i purposely did fip don't think i did, sir. i answered the question, that's
the bottom them. i aned them truthfully sir. >> you didn't bother to check with the team before assuring me, senator hatch, and others in the april 26th letter that the irs applies greater scrutiny based on only, you said, individualized consideration whether issues remain. in other words no political criteria whatsoever. >> let me ask you this. we learned that the ig report that the council aware as early as august of 2011. >> five second. >> i don't know that. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> next on the list is senator toomey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first a quick point the number of my colleagues have seem to be upset about the fact that some americans choose to exercise their first amendment rights
anonymously. i would remind us all that perhaps one president of the most important works ever done in the history of the republic for the federalist papers when were written anonymously. i would point out whatever one thinks of how the rule implementing the c4 standards has been developed over the decades is how it it's written is absolutely nothing to do with the irs decision to use ideology as a basis for imposing unnecessary inappropriate, and extra expreening on people seeking 051c4 status and other matters. let me ask, mr. miller. i want to be clear and follow up on the line of questions from senator isaacson. we are sitting here in may 20122013. at this point, do you know who it is that initiated the policy of establishing these
ideological criteria for creating this additional level of screening for applicants for the status? >> i think, i mean, it happened twice. the second time it happened, i don't believe there's clarity. the second time there was more clarity. >> who was it. >> i can give you the name. i would be glad to respond to that. >> i think it's important we unwho did that. that we know dpactly who did. >> who ordered it be stop? which i believe occurred in all july of 2011? >> according to the ig report, lois learner. >> you don't have any knowledge of that other than the ig report. >> i believe that's the way it happened, yeah. i believe that's the case. >> who ordered that it be resumed, although using slightly different words the same idea was resumed in may of 2012. >> i believe i indicated and the ig concurs that's less than clear. >> why is it less than clear
even now. these are people that reported in a direct chain to you. you were deputy commissioner. reporting to you, as i understand, was sara engram, the government entity division, the director lois learner reported to her. who in the chain of command thought know? who was initiating this inappropriate activity and reinitiating it? >> should be should have known. there are processes in place to put in that -- made it clear who as the ability to start this listing or modify the listing. at the time they were not in place. >> but you said somebody should have known. there's clearly is a chain of command. there's an organizational structure here. there are people who are responsible. i mean, should it have been lois
learner, sara engram? , yourself? who ought to be responsible for making sure that this important function is being carried out properly? >> so i think that under the current management chain, it's been determined that the record was in agreement, which is below lois has control of the listing. can i clarify one thing, i think sara has been used several times here already. she has been thrown in to this. i don't know that's a fair thing. we should check, i don't believe she was working there during the time that it was being discussed here. >> okay. i have -- haven't accused her of anything. i was under the impression she was the acting commissioner during the time period. i would say if we believe that we still sitting here today dpobtd even know who was -- don't even know who was responsible for the decision to resume a completely inappropriate activity that had
been seized. i don't know how we can come to the conclusion it's not politically motivation. we don't know who made the decision. how do we know what motivated the decision. on the face of it appears politically motivated. to the best of my knowledge, there was no criteria identifying left of center of deserving scrutiny like using the words progressive or 99% or occupy wall street. none of that was ever part of the criteria. given the obvious one-sided nature of the criteria, and the fact we don't know -- mr. chairman i would suggest what we need to do is brick before the committee -- bring before the committee people who might know the answers to the questions who decided it was a good idea. who decided we ought to resume this after the initial mall was ended. it's frustrating to have no
answer like this. >> back to you. okay. i apologize. >> can i come back, senator? >> can i just take two minutes. senator toomey, and he said he has doesn't know who made the decision resume. the irs commissioner doesn't know who made the decision to resume. did you ask the -- questions? what did the people in cincinnati or people in washington say about who made the decision. it seems impossible we don't know the answer. >> i asked in may. i was told a name. it turned out they didn't think it was the correct name. >> it was a name of somebody in ohio? >> of the name of a group manager in ohio. >> i don't know how we get to the bottom of it. i think somebody needs to an
that. it doesn't seem like it's asking too much. >> i did ask. >> i think we should ask again. then if the irs won't do it . i think we need to do it. -- i'll close on this, mr. chairman. my time is short. we didn't give the job. i think the regulation that the treasury wrote it fifty years ago is not consistent with the its been written. i would argue the agency is taking on the task. since you are great learns -- lawyers and worked in the area. i would ask you whether you think the regulation is written reflects the piert -- not everybody the spirit the language of the statute with regard to -- does anybody want to defend the way the language is written. >> let me start. i'm not going defend it or attack it. it is what the regulation is. as a administrate that's what we would were to do.
if we were to move mop and we should be taupe to the -- the policy folks would be key in in. we might be in the same place we have to determine how much political activity needs to be done. even under an exclusively. it might not be 100%. you can't do if. it might be x%. even there we have a hard time -- these were very different tasks. >> anybody else want to defend it? >> i don't want to defend it, sir. i think with good reason. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and committee in recess for about -- i'm guessing about ten or fifteen minutes. [inaudible conversations]
requires, beyond what the irs code or any regulations provide, i think it's a larger question. a lot of americans are are angry about it or struggling with or perplexed by it. that's sometimes the sense of people in washington don't get it. and people in washington don't have a sense that their work is not just important in terms of the policy, but they're appointed or elected to office to be servants. and i have to say, listening, i've been here for virtually ever minute of the hearing. i wish there was a more of a sense of frankly of outrage or more contrition being demonstrated by both you mr. schulman, and you, mr. miller. in my experience, whether it's
an elected, appointed or public agency when something goes wrong, it's as if you had a something that fell on the ground and shattered. one question that we also have is whether or not rebuilding substantial public with the irs is going putting back three or four pieces together or whether it's been so shattered that it will take many years to rebuild that confidence. that's the preed -- i point to an appendix five. i think most americans have seen it. it starts at page 29 of the report. it starts a the the bottom you have program manager determination. the determinations unit and the program manager and determinations specialist.
both located in cincinnati, ohio. and the next level you have a director of rules and agreement and washington at the director of exempt organizations in washington. the next level the acting comigger in the government entity and you get to the deputy commissioner. mr. miller, you began in 2009; is that correct? that was while, mr. schulman, you were commissioner of the irs; is that correct? >> yes. >> then you turned to -- i turn to page 7 of the report, by the way, page 6 the irs policy statement talks about promoting public confidence which is obviously part of what the crux of the problem is here. i'm looking at page 7 of the record, -- report, and i note for the record, it's in the first full paragraph maybe the second sentence, quote, the
determinations unit developed and implemented inappropriate criteria in part due to insufficient oversight provided by management. that's a management failure it's clear as can be. it says that the -- in that same paragraph, inappropriate criteria remained in place for more than 18 months, determinations unit employees also didn't considerate public perception of their conduct. finally, the criteria develop showed a lack of knowledge by the individual in that unit, later on the same page the -- it says that the it talked more about the management failures. so when you consider that evidence of the management failure, and you look at the organizational chart, which goes up to both of you in your positions at the time. i have to ask you a couple of questions.
it's pretty clear from the report and the record that you can almost look at this problem as what happened prior to january of 2012, and what happened after. or you can move the line back and say, well, why don't you look at july of 2011. we know in august of 2011, that's when the problem started. the criteria were issued and used from that point forward, july of 2011, eleven months later, the criteria changed. i guess at that point management would have thought that the ship was on the right course. now we find out january 2011, that the criteria changed back. i guess the basic question i have for both of you, is it your testimony that you took no actions to rectify what happened after january of 2011 -- or 2012 because you department know --
didn't know about it. is that your testimony, mr. miller? >> when i knew in may of 2012. that's the first i knew. >> mr. schulman. >> first time i remember knowing about this is in a conversation with my miller and at our about that same time. he told me he was taking action, the list had been corrected, and so, yes. yes. that's what happened. >> well, i was i the fact you didn't know is a management failure of some kind. and i would hope that the irs, at this point, when you have nine recommendations that the administration says are going to be implemented that those recommendations be implemented expeditiously. i realize that you don't have a direct impact on that any longer, but i think the the american people need to hear, mr. schulman, more of what you
expressed after about ninety minutes here in answering senator cornyn's question about -- at the minimum a sense of disappointment and contrition as opposed to we didn't know and again i think an attitude that makes the problem worse. and i know i'm limit on time, but i'll try on the second round, maybe. >> thank you, senator. senator campbell. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to make it clear that i believe we need clarity in our tax exempt status on 501c4 organizations. and we need that clarity, mr. chairman, as soon as possible. i think that's a major issue. but i have a larger issue, which is just understanding at the
irs, mr. miller, what exactly exists today as a prohibition against investigating people. investigating organizations, targeting organizations based on political or religious or any other social issues. >> so we would have two different areas. one is the determination letter area where we had issues at this time. we elevated an executive level either creation of a list or the modification of a list. and the list will not have names on it. the list will have . >> no. i'm asking a larger question. >> sorry. >> what rule, what regulation, what statute is in place that prohibits an employee of the irs from targeting people for either political, social, or any kind of personal reasons? what are the safe guards? mr. george, in response to my colleague from south dakota mentioned, you know, the
criminal code section that applies to revealing or disclosing personal information, i'm asking where is there a bright line at the irs? i think what happened here, is that somebody saw gray and saw a gray area. instead of addressing the gray area, it's clear director lois learner has an attempt to go back and give guidance when they were not there, and then didn't take action and then more problems ensued. so my question is, i do not think that gray areas, whether t in our national security in this media shield issue, or in this issue with the irs can be seen as a green light. gray didn't mean there's a green light to go ahead and use the powers of information to go on fishing expeditions. so what i want to know is does
the irs either by law, by internal process have something on the books right now that says you cannot target people for political or religious or other social issues within the irs? >> forgive me, senator. i have to check whether there's something specific on that. there are general rules of conduct that indicate you should not do anything that gives appearance of the type of activity. but i'm unsure. we have to come back and let you know whether there's something specific statutory or regulatory in the area. >> mr. george, do you have any idea? >> the restructuring reform fact delynn nates -- they call it ten deadly sins. one is the revealing of tax information willfully to harm a taxpayer. and so it is my understanding that that is one that while administrative in nature it doesn't have any criminal penalties associated with it.
it could result in the removal from the position of the irs employee. >> but that's revealing that information to some outside organization? >> it's the misuse of the information, actually. and so so -- is. >> in this case could it be seen as misuse of information in. >> in theory, it could be interpreted that way. >> i think it's clear we need clear statute here. if not in intent, the things happened, certainly the perception that this could have been the intent. i agree with my colleagues, we have to have a clear system here that the the american people know the kind of targeting for political purposes does not happen. and won't be tolerated and people would lose their jobs over that. mr. miller, the fact you don't know crisply in the context whether or not it existed it said the bright line wasn't bright enough. the minute there was a gray area, the counter balance should
have been someone saying it could be perceived as targeting an organization for political purposes. it's wrong. this is a violation of our organization. and they should go back and should have created a different, very, very different process. i worry in an information age with too much information in large organizations people have got to get this point. and so, mr. chairman, thank you. i also believe that the 501c4 status issue needs to be resolved as quickly as possible as well. thank you. >> thank you, senator. >> thank you,. gentleman, thank you for joining us today. i'm reminded of something i learned a long time ago is a navy, seaman shipman. they told me about the responsibility and expectations of commanding officer was a ship and our craft carrier. a submarine aircraft carrier --
if a ship ran adwrownd in the middle of the night and someone was the officer on the deck. we hold the commanding officer of the ship responsible. the captain of the ship is responsible. the captain is expected to stand up and take responsibility say it happened on my watch. may have been sound asleep. i'm responsible. i think one of the things that that is frustrating here is that a reluctance to assume responsibility. mr. schulman, my understanding is you were not made to serve in the role by president obama. you were nominated by former president bush; correct? >> correct. >> when you were nominated? >> i was nominated in either the end of november, maybe the beginning of december of -- 2007 . >> we went to new governor school one of my -- mentors there was your dad. then governor casey.
and one of the lessons i learned at governor dismool 1992 -- school in 1992 was when you make a mistake, don't crag drag it out for a day or week or month. admit it. take responsibility and say we're going fix the problem and move on. and i think one of the frustrations for us is that your reluctance unlessness to say it happened on my watch i -- directly to you. that's a disappointment to me. i think it's one of the reasons -- it's one of the things going down hard with my colleagues and the american people. we want somebody to take responsibility. to apology saying it happened on my watch. and then to move forward. i want to note, you don't make the job of the irs easy.
people deserve on the committee we make it hard. we have hugely complex tax code. we make changes, we delay passing legislation. we don't make the job that easy. we make it difficult. one of the areas i think we actually made it pretty straightforward with respect to 501c4, and these tax exempt organizations were -- as i understand it in the actual code we say that the code said that these 501c4 non-profit organizations their activity must be -- i think exclusively for social welfare. exclusively in the code. i think social welfare is a quote of the code. it doesn't say anything about any political activity. exclusively for social welfare.
how we end up in the situation whether we're extending tax exempt coverage through the entities that are clearly not exclusively for social welfare which actually to me, it looks like a lot of ways to go about it is effecting election. you are weighing in on elections. it would be a lot easier for the irs if we go back to the code and where it says they have to be exclusive -- let's make sure they are. let me ask you the response. mr. george, please. >> i believe you were hear or may not have been here. >> we have another hearing going on in the tax code folks from apple are before the committee on investigation. the secretary of delicated tax -- the tax policy question, sir, i'm going have to defer.
>> mr. miller. can you respond please. >> i will. first, i'm sorry that senator casey is gone. i opened my statement with an apology, sir. i and i do apology. what happens on my watch, whether i did it or not, just like the commanding officer, i am responsible. >> good. thank you. i appreciate that. >> on this -- . >> i didn't -- go ahead. >> the issue we talked about today, and that is, you know, the regulation excerpted exclusively as primarily, that puts us to a difficult place of figuring of what is in or outside. i think it makes sense to take a look at if. i don't know we will be a better place after looking tat. we have to figure out what falls even with within exclusively the 0 10, 20, or 50%.
it's clear that the world changed since 1958 or whatever it is when we did the regulation, and it does make sense to take a look. >> mr. schulman. >> i don't have anything to add to what i said before. i think it's incredibly difficult for the irs to administrator the current regulations on the book, and i think it's, you know, well within the per view of the committee and congress to take a look and be very clear. if congress isn't going to act. i think it's well within the purview of the treasury to take the questions. >> one more quick question, if i could. you don't have to the get in to this. the irs is investigated whether prior u.s.a. or cross roads gps are primarily social welfare organizations or political in nature? i don't know if that's been done. >> i think that would be information we wouldn't be able
to speak to publicly. >> thank you. frankly, senator, that's the question i was going ask. you know, these are the two elephants in the room that haven't been addressed. they are the ones that apparently spend a a lot of money by tv ad and campaigns, apparently. there's not a lot of -- [inaudible] and some of the organizations that are investigated by the cincinnati office were clearly spent a lot of money on political verses. i don't know. what about cross roads and priority u.s.? it's obvious to you, it should be, to the commissioners that a lot of money being spent on the 501c4, a lot. i'm wondering what they about it. that's where the abuse
apparently -- that is where it seems to be. in terms of dollars. i said apparent. i don't know it's if it's fact. what have you done about the two organizations? and civil organizations that look like they spend a lot of money. you watch tv ads, the 501c4. you know it's going on. you both know it's been going on. and what it do about it. i'll start with you, mr. schulman. you were there first. >> let me repeat it's 6103 in provision. if i had any information, i couldn't have a discussion about this in an open forum. let me also say that as commissioner, i didn't get involved in a single case with a 501c4 i can remember. it was a general policy i wouldn't. i think it was inappropriate, actually, for presidential appointee, regardless of which party they are appointed by, to be getting involved in cases
that the scrutiny and the decisions have to be made around political activity. and finally, i would say, you know, sitting there as commissioner, you mentioned the letter to me, mr. chairman, there were letters coming elsewhere. i'll go back to what i said before, the irs is in a difficult situation. when it is trying to administrate the tax code, serve americans, get refunds out. >> back to the question. i understand 61 o- 3 frankly maybe there's a way you can tell me here in the forum, the taxpayer information. that's 61 o- 3 provides in part. i'm asking another question. that is, what was your policy with respect to organizations of this size? and i ask you specifically my cross roads right now. i'm asking specifically about -- u.s.a. what, if anything, did
you do to see that the law is being implemented? >> so i can start on this, sir. i mean, i think on given case and even on the discussion, it makes all the sense in the world for you to come forward and ask 6103 context. >> i'm asking general policy. i'm not asking for specific tax pay per. >> we can let you know there are examinations under way. >> all right. have you focused on the larger organizations? i'm not asking to name any. i'm asking about policy. >> there's no policy to aim one way or another on organizations. it's what comes through. i can't -- . >> it look is like this cincinnati office focused on, it seems, smaller organizations. it may or may not have been spending money to influence campaigns. i don't know. let me ask about that. to what degree of the 298 or 96
or 202 evolved in the activities? >> senator, we have and we will be -- [no audio] whether or not these organizations have engaged in . >> you don't know? >> i don't have it at the red i i readiness, sir. >> have you been asking that question. >> yes. we are starting the audit, sir. we haven't yet posed the question. >> so again, we ask what degree has the irs, you know, -- we have to look at some of the organizations in a wake of citizen united, and see if there should be a change. to what degree did the irs ask itself that question either at the commissioner level, anywhere. it doesn't take rocket science
to know what is going on here. i'm not targeting conservative or liberal. i want to force it along here. why didn't somebody at the irs or did somebody at the irs think about this and try to do something about it? >> i think, sir when we have an exam program underway we would like to walk you through. we have the determination letter process. you shouldn't assume that all of the cases in the determination process that we're talking about are of one -- . >> okay. let me ask the --let go beyond the assumption. to what degree are there other cases that you're irs is looking at in addition to those we identified in the report? >> i have to come back to you on that, sir. i don't know -- i don't have a sense. >> you don't have a sense. >> i believe there is fief toy 100. i could be wrong. rather than throw a number out,
let us come back. >> okay. mr. schulman, what is your sense? >> i haven't been at the irs for six -- . >> when you're commissioner. these comfort letters, on your watch. >> my sense is very similar to mr. miller's there's a examination underway. there's -- at least was underway. that groups were being looked at in these cases being worked. >> all right. >> did it come to your mind that perhaps some of these organizations, perhaps were abusing the spirit 501c4. in the wake of citizens united all the money being spent? >> it came to my mind that career professionals should be the ones touching the cases, think thinking about are they using the tax exempt laws properly and -- . a presidential appointee should not be touching the case.
>> that's interesting. you should have nouveau about the subject in order to give destruction to the agency; is that correct? >> that's not how i stated. what i said is i didn't want to touch any individual cases or give direction on individual cases. >> i'm not saying that. you are misinterpreting my question. i'm asking if the policy -- were you aware that perhaps in the wake of citizens united is that the exemption of what is being abused? let me ask the simple question. >> i was aware that in the news and in letters that we got there were a lot of people concerned about things in multiple different ways with views . >> all right. and i was aware that our tax exempt government entities group was also aware of the need to take look at 501c4 organizations, and to have a number of exams underway, and my
understanding, which is six monthing ago, the caveat, at the time there were a number of exams underway. >> where is the stop with the irs? >> what is that? >> where did z the buck stop at the irs? >> i think i said clearly that all of this happened on my watch. >> you said that. but you're -- you're dodging the question whether you did anything about it over money -- [inaudible] supreme court decision 501c4. >> i'm sorry. gtd. >> what is that? >> go ahead. >> i think i told you what i have to say. the irs is give a difficult task. my understanding is people on the job working on the task. i, as a matter of practice and policy, didn't reach down to the tax exempt government entities world to affect the cases. >> that's not the question i'm asking. you're answering a different question. the question asking is specific
cases -- let me ask a different question. are you aware of the supreme court decision of the citizen united? >> yes. >> you were aware of it? and you aware of -- [inaudible] are you aware of -- . >> in a general sense i am. >> what is your understanding? >> my best understanding is that corporations and other entities can give money to political organizations. >> are you -- are you aware -- are you aware that this 501c4 are getting a lot of donations and a lot of money. >> i'm defmght aware there was -- definitely aware there was an influx of 501c4 applications to the irs. >> did it occur that perhaps in the wake of decision that is being abused? that should not be exclusively for nonpolitical purposes? >> senator, i believe that
congress is given the irs a very difficult task. indian you -- as i understand you have a different . >> you making a statement and not responding to my question. my question is what -- of the difficulties caused by the statute in the supreme court decision? and second, did you do anything about? that is, try make sure that the statute is -- [inaudible] >> i was aware from the variety of sources, whether it was the media, be letters, et. cetera, discussions with mr. miller and other people on our team, and i was aware that the appropriate people were making sure that the exam plan was working on this issue. >> i'm not going split hairs here. that's frankly -- [inaudible conversations] >> senator hatch. >> thank you, mr. chairman. let me say there are plenty of
501c4 across the political spectrum, and some of of the 501c4 that were sponsored by democrats are wealthy too. it's not just one side or the other. it seems to me we ought to to be careful. which involved the unions. some of my friends are advocating for a disclose act, but they always exclude the 501 -- they disclose the donor list, but not what is done on the other side. if you are going to do something in the area -- i agree it's congress' obligation to do it. we ought to do it the right way. so, you know, you can pick on the cross roads all you want.
there were plenty of liberal groups on the other side. >> i don't understand, my view -- this whole subject . >> i'm not picking on you. >> it is both sides. >> right. >> the cross roads because it was exceptionally effective in many ways. i can understand that. let me just say for those colleagues 501c4 political activity, i think it's beyond hypocritical to call for a ban on political activity as well. we know it's never going happen around here. unless there's a change. commissioner schulman -- mr. schulman, what was the first day that the irs exempt organizations determinations here that in cincinnati was using a -- [inaudible] for term such as the tea party?
>> that's my rex. recollection. it was sometime in the spring of 2012. >> okay. right during the election year. right? >> it was in the spring of -- . okay. mr. schulman, with you learned about the problem, who did you tell and what date did you tell? >> i was told of the problem as i mentioned before by mr. mr. miller, and at that time, i was also told they were looking to the issue. and so i don't recall telling anyone about it because i think this is not the kind of information one they start looking at it that should leave the irs. >> okay.
to your knowledge, who was the first date that anyone from the tissue i are department learn about any tea party group apply for tax exempt status being subjected to extra scrutiny? >> i have no knowledge of people at the treasury department knowing about groups being subject to scrutiny or -- let me say it another way, i didn't have conversations with people at the treasury department about that matter. >> one of the problems i have with you, and we always had a good relationship, one thing that bothers me there, i wrote a letter on march 14, 2011, signed -- 2012, signed by a number of my colleagues -- eight of my colleagues, that was on march 14, 2012, inquiring about the
matters. i wrote another one on june 18, 2012, and you never got back to us after having knowledge some of these goings on. that bothers me. i think you have an obligation when you say one thing before the committee, and find out it's another. i think it's an obligation to let our committee know about it. we had criticism of the congress because they haven't passed certain laws to make things learn -- clear. it's your obligation to come back and tell us when i testified before i didn't know. now here is what happened. in reason why you didn't come to us and tell us? >> you know, i stated before, first of all, senator hatch, i
appreciate your concerns. i hear your concerns. i'm not here to argue with you. >> i know you're not. there. >> i'm here to tell you what i did. >> you didn't do anything once you learned. you got bursted and you were lender there were some pretty bad things going on. >> i learned there was a thing called the bow low list. >> and i learned that the treasury inspector general for tax administration was planning to look in to it. my policy, procedure, practice at that time while i was at the irs is if i hear something that is a concern, and i don't know how big of concern, how significant it is, all the details. if i get some of the facts but not all of the facts, the proper place for it to be is in the inspector general's hands to track down all the facts, and once all the facts are known. it will be recorded to congress,
the commissioner, the treasury. >> but -- [inaudible] and you reference that it was not going on. then you found out it was going on, and you never came to us and let us know what was going on. >> i certainly don't believe -- and i don't have any memory of representing that this -- the bolo list was not going on at the time where i knew it was going on. >> mr. chairman, i would like to put these four letters, two letters from my colleagues and myself about responses that -- from mr. miller to the record. mr. miller is here now. what was the first date that anyone at the treasury department from whatever source learned about any tea party groups that applied for tax exempt status being subjected to extra scrutiny. what was your first date you heard about that?
>> i don't believe i had any conversation or knowledge in advance of my taking over as acting in november of 2012. i don't believe we had in conversation until the discussion about the later report which was later in to 2013. >> let me ask you this, to your knowledge, what was the first date that anyone at the white house, from whatever source, learned about any tea party groups that applied for tax exempt status being subjected to extra scrutiny? no knowledge of anybody at the white house? >> correct. >> okay. let me see here, i'm just about through. i want to ask one or two more questions. you know, just back to you, mr. schulman, i wrote these two letters to you in the capacity as irs commissioner in 2012,